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Home » Uncategorized » New department and director growing behavioral health workforce in New Mexico

New department and director growing behavioral health workforce in New Mexico

Meg Long is the new director of the Training and Technical Assistance Department at the Center for Health Innovation.

Monday, September 13, 2021; Silver City, NM: A new department and director will focus the Center for Health Innovation’s (CHI) efforts to grow the behavioral health workforce in New Mexico. The new Training and Technical Assistance Department is led by Megan Long, MPH.

“I’ve worked for many years in direct service and program management roles,” Long noted. “All of these positions have prepared me to see a broader view of our systems and approaches to public health in order to reduce negative health outcomes while simultaneously working to get ahead of them.”

Long has a master degree in public health from New Mexico State University and currently resides in Doña Ana County.

Long has been leading the CHI program Grow Our Behavioral Health – New Mexico (GrowBH-NM), which works with 14 rural counties in the southern part of the state to expand the infrastructure and workforce for substance use disorder treatment. The effort is funded by a $1 million three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Before COVID, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that one in ten New Mexican adults had a substance use disorder and the state is one of the worst in the country for drug overdose deaths.

New Mexico has a lower rate of psychiatrists, clinicians, psychologists, and social workers than the national average, according to the New Mexico Substance Use Disorder Treatment Gap Analysis published in January 2020 by the New Mexico Department of Health.

Most of these health professionals are concentrated in the larger cities – like Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and Las Cruces – leaving rural residents to travel long distances for services or wait for appointments with the few behavioral health professionals located in their communities. 

“Currently the efforts are focused on increasing the capacity and timely evidence-based approach of primary care and behavioral healthcare in the state,” Long said.

“By focusing on building our behavioral health workforce and increasing knowledge of evidence-based practices, we aim to enhance the overall access and quality of healthcare to New Mexicans,” Long added.

The new department encompasses the GrowBH-NM initiative along with several other behavioral health and educational efforts including CHI’s statewide academic detailing program, Understanding Provider Demands and Advancing Timely Evidence in New Mexico (UPDATE NM) that offers physicians up to five continuing education credits for free on non-cancerous pain management.

“We want to support the health systems and departments already engaged in effective public health efforts,” Long said of the department. “Additionally, I see the department enhancing the public health in New Mexico by ensuring public health and education systems in the state have training and technical support related to adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed and resilience-based approaches to their work.”

“Our organization is very fortunate to have Meg in this leadership role,” said Holley Hudgins, CHI executive director. “She sets such an excellent example of how talent combined with an amazing workplace attitude sets you apart as a true leader.”

CHI is New Mexico’s designated public health institute and works to create community collaboration to affect health care policy change and originates innovative programs that can be replicated throughout the state and nation.

For more information contact Long at (575) 597-0041 or email:

This news release is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1 million with zero percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.